Edith Schaeffer dies at 98

Baptist Press
Posted: Apr 01, 2013 5:52 PM
GRYON, Switzerland (BP) -- Edith Schaeffer, who along with her late husband the theologian and apologist Francis Schaeffer founded L'Abri Fellowship, died March 30 at her home in Switzerland. She was 98.

Born to missionary parents in China, Edith Schaeffer later joined her husband as a missionary to Switzerland.

The author of 17 books on family and spirituality, Schaeffer was known for her hospitality, deciding with her husband to open their home in Switzerland in 1955 as a place where people might find answers to life's questions and practical demonstrations of Christian care.

L'Abri, the evangelical ministry that emerged, is named for the French word "shelter" because the couple sought to provide a shelter from the pressures of a secular 20th century, according to the ministry's website. L'Abri has grown to include eight branches in seven countries.

"We cannot express how deep is our gratitude for her life and we thank the Lord that she is enjoying the Hope that she has so longed for," a statement from Rochester L'Abri in Minnesota said.

The Schaeffers raised four children, including a son Frank, an author in Massachusetts who wrote a tribute to his mother at Patheos.com.

"Mom was a wonderful paradox: an evangelical conservative fundamentalist who treated people as if she was an all-forgiving progressive liberal of the most tolerant variety," Frank Schaeffer wrote.

"Mom's daily life was a rebuke and contradiction to people who see everything as black and white. Liberals and secularists alike who make smug disparaging declarations about 'all those evangelicals' would see their fondest prejudices founder upon the reality of my mother's compassion, cultural literacy and loving energy," he wrote.

Schaeffer's son-in-law Udo Middelmann, who along with his wife helped care for Schaeffer in her later years in Switzerland, also wrote a tribute, posted to the website of the Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation, which he founded with his mother-in-law.

Of the Schaffers, Middelmann wrote, "They lectured together and encouraged many to use their minds to understand what they believed and how to respond to the intellectual and cultural ideas around them."

"Together they traveled and taught in churches and university halls from Finland to Portugal, helping people understand Christianity as the truth of the universe, not a personal faith, and pointing out the cultural and philosophical pitfalls in everyone's way," Middelmann wrote.

After a funeral in Switzerland, a private burial was planned for Schaeffer in Rochester, Minn., alongside her husband.

Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Erin Roach. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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